mineralists:

Crystal Spheres

Sphere 1: Natrolite and Quartz
Sphere 2: Opal
Sphere 3: Orpriment
Sphere 4: Quartz and Rutile
Sphere 5: Rhodochrosite
Sphere 6: Spetarian Stone
Sphere 7: Vanadinite and Geothite

propagandery:

How NASA might build its very first warp drive
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity.

propagandery:

How NASA might build its very first warp drive

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity.

image

neurosciencestuff:

Music brings memories back to the brain injured
In the first study of its kind, two researchers have used popular music to help severely brain-injured patients recall personal memories. Amee Baird and Séverine Samson outline the results and conclusions of their pioneering research in the recent issue of the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.
Although their study covered a small number of cases, it’s the very first to examine ‘music-evoked autobiographical memories’ (MEAMs) in patients with acquired brain injuries (ABIs), rather than those who are healthy or suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.
In their study, Baird and Samson played extracts from ‘Billboard Hot 100’ number-one songs in random order to five patients. The songs, taken from the whole of the patient’s lifespan from age five, were also played to five control subjects with no brain injury. All were asked to record how familiar they were with a given song, whether they liked it, and what memories it invoked.
Doctors Baird and Samson found that the frequency of recorded MEAMs was similar for patients (38%–71%) and controls (48%–71%). Only one of the four ABI patients recorded no MEAMs. In fact, the highest number of MEAMs in the whole group was recorded by one of the ABI patients. In all those studied, the majority of MEAMs were of a person, people or a life period and were typically positive. Songs that evoked a memory were noted as more familiar and more liked than those that did not.
As a potential tool for helping patients regain their memories, Baird and Samson conclude that: “Music was more efficient at evoking autobiographical memories than verbal prompts of the Autobiographical Memory Interview (AMI) across each life period, with a higher percentage of MEAMs for each life period compared with AMI scores.”
“The findings suggest that music is an effective stimulus for eliciting autobiographical memories and may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of autobiographical amnesia, but only in patients without a fundamental deficit in autobiographical recall memory and intact pitch perception.”
The authors hope that their ground-breaking work will encourage others to carry out further studies on MEAMs in larger ABI populations. They also call for further studies of both healthy people and those with other neurological conditions to learn more about the clear relationship between memory, music and emotion; they hope that one day we might truly “understand the mechanisms underlying the unique memory enhancing effect of music”.

neurosciencestuff:

Music brings memories back to the brain injured

In the first study of its kind, two researchers have used popular music to help severely brain-injured patients recall personal memories. Amee Baird and Séverine Samson outline the results and conclusions of their pioneering research in the recent issue of the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Although their study covered a small number of cases, it’s the very first to examine ‘music-evoked autobiographical memories’ (MEAMs) in patients with acquired brain injuries (ABIs), rather than those who are healthy or suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.

In their study, Baird and Samson played extracts from ‘Billboard Hot 100’ number-one songs in random order to five patients. The songs, taken from the whole of the patient’s lifespan from age five, were also played to five control subjects with no brain injury. All were asked to record how familiar they were with a given song, whether they liked it, and what memories it invoked.

Doctors Baird and Samson found that the frequency of recorded MEAMs was similar for patients (38%–71%) and controls (48%–71%). Only one of the four ABI patients recorded no MEAMs. In fact, the highest number of MEAMs in the whole group was recorded by one of the ABI patients. In all those studied, the majority of MEAMs were of a person, people or a life period and were typically positive. Songs that evoked a memory were noted as more familiar and more liked than those that did not.

As a potential tool for helping patients regain their memories, Baird and Samson conclude that: “Music was more efficient at evoking autobiographical memories than verbal prompts of the Autobiographical Memory Interview (AMI) across each life period, with a higher percentage of MEAMs for each life period compared with AMI scores.”

“The findings suggest that music is an effective stimulus for eliciting autobiographical memories and may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of autobiographical amnesia, but only in patients without a fundamental deficit in autobiographical recall memory and intact pitch perception.”

The authors hope that their ground-breaking work will encourage others to carry out further studies on MEAMs in larger ABI populations. They also call for further studies of both healthy people and those with other neurological conditions to learn more about the clear relationship between memory, music and emotion; they hope that one day we might truly “understand the mechanisms underlying the unique memory enhancing effect of music”.

somersault1824:

Studying the amino acids? Here is a little cheat sheet that we made. You might find it useful… Let us know with a like. http://ift.tt/19TO7z3

somersault1824:

Studying the amino acids? Here is a little cheat sheet that we made. You might find it useful… Let us know with a like. http://ift.tt/19TO7z3

fromquarkstoquasars:

The Weight and Workings of a Neutron Star:
At first glance, it seems that the Earth is a rather large object. Over 7 billion people are able to make their homes on the surface of this rocky planet, and the Earth is also home to more than 8.7 million species (give or take a few million). Given this impressive scale one could assert that the Earth is large…it is, but only according to human standards. On the other hand, Jupiter, the largest of the planets in our solar system, is large according to planetary standards. Ultimately, it could swallow all of the other planets in our solar systems. If we are just looking at Earth, it could consume out planet 1,300 times over and still have room to spare. But this is nothing when compared with our Sun—it could house over 1 million Earths.
 So it seems that there is always something larger than you, something more massive and dense. Today, I’d like to talk about truly massive objects, Neutron stars. These stars are actually know for their density—their extreme weight. These stars are the dense, core remnants of large stars that can no longer support nuclear fusion. You see, stars can take on numerous forms when they exhaust their fuel and explode, and what they become is all based on their mass. Smaller stars, stars that are below the Chandrasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses, form into white dwarfs. Conversely, when stars reaching megalithic proportions (approximately 4 to 8 solar masses) can no longer support nuclear fusion, they explode violently, leaving behind super dense neutron stars. So just how dense are they?
To read the full article, see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/the-weight-of-a-neutron-star/
Amazing image by: http://stefanpwinc.deviantart.com/art/Nick-s-neutron-star-facts-273973192

fromquarkstoquasars:

The Weight and Workings of a Neutron Star:

At first glance, it seems that the Earth is a rather large object. Over 7 billion people are able to make their homes on the surface of this rocky planet, and the Earth is also home to more than 8.7 million species (give or take a few million). Given this impressive scale one could assert that the Earth is large…it is, but only according to human standards. On the other hand, Jupiter, the largest of the planets in our solar system, is large according to planetary standards. Ultimately, it could swallow all of the other planets in our solar systems. If we are just looking at Earth, it could consume out planet 1,300 times over and still have room to spare. But this is nothing when compared with our Sun—it could house over 1 million Earths.


So it seems that there is always something larger than you, something more massive and dense. Today, I’d like to talk about truly massive objects, Neutron stars. These stars are actually know for their density—their extreme weight. These stars are the dense, core remnants of large stars that can no longer support nuclear fusion. You see, stars can take on numerous forms when they exhaust their fuel and explode, and what they become is all based on their mass. Smaller stars, stars that are below the Chandrasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses, form into white dwarfs. Conversely, when stars reaching megalithic proportions (approximately 4 to 8 solar masses) can no longer support nuclear fusion, they explode violently, leaving behind super dense neutron stars. So just how dense are they?

To read the full article, see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/the-weight-of-a-neutron-star/

Amazing image by: http://stefanpwinc.deviantart.com/art/Nick-s-neutron-star-facts-273973192

neurosciencestuff:

Researchers find that ‘peanut butter’ test can help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler can be used to confirm a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease, University of Florida Health researchers have found.
Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the UF McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, and her colleagues reported the findings of a small pilot study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.
Stamps came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity while she was working with Dr. Kenneth Heilman, the James E. Rooks distinguished professor of neurology and health psychology in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology.
She noticed while shadowing in Heilman’s clinic that patients were not tested for their sense of smell. The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline. Stamps also had been working in the laboratory of Linda Bartoshuk, the William P. Bushnell presidentially endowed professor in the College of Dentistry’s department of community dentistry and behavioral sciences and director of human research in the Center for Smell and Taste.
“Dr. Heilman said, ‘If you can come up with something quick and inexpensive, we can do it,’” Stamps said.
She thought of peanut butter because, she said, it is a “pure odorant” that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.
In the study, patients who were coming to the clinic for testing also sat down with a clinician, 14 grams of peanut butter — which equals about one tablespoon — and a metric ruler. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay.
The clinicians running the test did not know the patients’ diagnoses, which were not usually confirmed until weeks after the initial clinical testing.
The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril — the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.
Of the 24 patients tested who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes turns out to be something else, about 10 patients showed a left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The researchers said more studies must be conducted to fully understand the implications.
“At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” Stamps said. “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.”
Stamps and Heilman point out that this test could be used by clinics that don’t have access to the personnel or equipment to run other, more elaborate tests required for a specific diagnosis, which can lead to targeted treatment. At UF Health, the peanut butter test will be one more tool to add to a full suite of clinical tests for neurological function in patients with memory disorders.
One of the first places in the brain to degenerate in people with Alzheimer’s disease is the front part of the temporal lobe that evolved from the smell system, and this portion of the brain is involved in forming new memories.
“We see people with all kinds of memory disorders,” Heilman said. Many tests to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can be time-consuming, costly or invasive. “This can become an important part of the evaluation process.”

neurosciencestuff:

Researchers find that ‘peanut butter’ test can help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease

A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler can be used to confirm a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease, University of Florida Health researchers have found.

Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the UF McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, and her colleagues reported the findings of a small pilot study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.

Stamps came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity while she was working with Dr. Kenneth Heilman, the James E. Rooks distinguished professor of neurology and health psychology in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology.

She noticed while shadowing in Heilman’s clinic that patients were not tested for their sense of smell. The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline. Stamps also had been working in the laboratory of Linda Bartoshuk, the William P. Bushnell presidentially endowed professor in the College of Dentistry’s department of community dentistry and behavioral sciences and director of human research in the Center for Smell and Taste.

“Dr. Heilman said, ‘If you can come up with something quick and inexpensive, we can do it,’” Stamps said.

She thought of peanut butter because, she said, it is a “pure odorant” that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.

In the study, patients who were coming to the clinic for testing also sat down with a clinician, 14 grams of peanut butter — which equals about one tablespoon — and a metric ruler. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay.

The clinicians running the test did not know the patients’ diagnoses, which were not usually confirmed until weeks after the initial clinical testing.

The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril — the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.

Of the 24 patients tested who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes turns out to be something else, about 10 patients showed a left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The researchers said more studies must be conducted to fully understand the implications.

“At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” Stamps said. “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.”

Stamps and Heilman point out that this test could be used by clinics that don’t have access to the personnel or equipment to run other, more elaborate tests required for a specific diagnosis, which can lead to targeted treatment. At UF Health, the peanut butter test will be one more tool to add to a full suite of clinical tests for neurological function in patients with memory disorders.

One of the first places in the brain to degenerate in people with Alzheimer’s disease is the front part of the temporal lobe that evolved from the smell system, and this portion of the brain is involved in forming new memories.

“We see people with all kinds of memory disorders,” Heilman said. Many tests to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can be time-consuming, costly or invasive. “This can become an important part of the evaluation process.”

Mouse studies reveal promising vitamin D-based treatment for MS

neurosciencestuff:

A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is a hard lot. Patients typically get the diagnosis around age 30 after experiencing a series of neurological problems such as blurry vision, wobbly gait or a numb foot. From there, this neurodegenerative disease follows an unforgiving course.

Many people with MS start using some kind of mobility aid — cane, walker, scooter or wheelchair — by 45 or 50, and those with the most severe cases are typically bed-bound by 60. The medications that are currently available don’t do much to slow the relentless march of the disease.

In search of a better option for MS patients, a team of UW-Madison biochemists has discovered a promising vitamin D-based treatment that can halt — and even reverse — the course of the disease in a mouse model of MS. The treatment involves giving mice that exhibit MS symptoms a single dose of calcitriol, the active hormone form of vitamin D, followed by ongoing vitamin D supplements through the diet. The protocol is described in a scientific article that was published online in August in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.

"All of the animals just got better and better, and the longer we watched them, the more neurological function they regained," says biochemistry professor Colleen Hayes, who led the study.

MS afflicts around 400,000 people nationwide, with 200 new cases diagnosed each week. Early on, this debilitating autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the myelin coating that protects the brain’s nerve cells, causes symptoms including weakness, loss of dexterity and balance, disturbances to vision, and difficulty thinking and remembering. As it progresses, people can lose the ability to walk, sit, see, eat, speak and think clearly.

Current FDA-approved treatments only work for some MS patients and, even among them, the benefits are modest. “And in the long term they don’t halt the disease process that relentlessly eats away at the neurons,” Hayes adds. “So there’s an unmet need for better treatments.”

While scientists don’t fully understand what triggers MS, some studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with a higher risk of developing the disease. Hayes has been studying this “vitamin D hypothesis” for the past 25 years with the long-term goal of uncovering novel preventive measures and treatments. Over the years, she and her researchers have revealed some of the molecular mechanisms involved in vitamin D’s protective actions, and also explained how vitamin D interactions with estrogen may influence MS disease risk and progression in women.

In the current study, which was funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Hayes’ team compared various vitamin D-based treatments to standard MS drugs. In each case, vitamin D-based treatments won out. Mice that received them showed fewer physical symptoms and cellular signs of disease.

First, Hayes’ team compared the effectiveness of a single dose of calcitriol to that of a comparable dose of a glucocorticoid, a drug now administered to MS patients who experience a bad neurological episode. Calcitriol came out ahead, inducing a nine-day remission in 92 percent of mice on average, versus a six-day remission in 58 percent for mice that received glucocorticoid.

"So, at least in the animal model, calcitriol is more effective than what’s being used in the clinic right now," says Hayes.

Next, Hayes’ team tried a weekly dose of calcitriol. They found that a weekly dose reversed the disease and sustained remission indefinitely.

But calcitriol can carry some strong side effects — it’s a “biological sledgehammer” that can raise blood calcium levels in people, Hayes says — so she tried a third regimen: a single dose of calcitriol, followed by ongoing vitamin D supplements in the diet. This one-two punch “was a runaway success,” she says. “One hundred percent of mice responded.”

Hayes believes that the calcitriol may cause the autoimmune cells attacking the nerve cells’ myelin coating to die, while the vitamin D prevents new autoimmune cells from taking their place.

While she is excited about the prospect of her research helping MS patients someday, Hayes is quick to point out that it’s based on a mouse model of disease, not the real thing. Also, while rodents are genetically homogeneous, people are genetically diverse.

"So it’s not certain we’ll be able to translate (this discovery to humans)," says Hayes. "But I think the chances are good because we have such a broad foundation of data showing protective effects of vitamin D in humans."

The next step is human clinical trials, a step that must be taken by a medical doctor, a neurologist. If the treatment works in people, patients with early symptoms of MS may never need to receive an official diagnosis.

"It’s my hope that one day doctors will be able to say, ‘We’re going to give you an oral calcitriol dose and ramp up the vitamin D in your diet, and then we’re going to follow you closely over the next few months. You’re just going to have this one neurological episode and that will be the end of it,’" says Hayes. "That’s my dream."

occupyme:

'Joshua Tree During The 2013 Meteor Shower' by Henry Jun Wah Lee

Another beautiful time-lapse film from acclaimed time-lapse filmmaker Henry Jun Wah Lee. Enjoy!

nbcnews:

'Cutest new animal' discovered: It's an olinguito!
(Photo: Mark Gurney)
What do you get when you cross a teddy bear and a house cat? The first new mammalian carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years, revealed by the Smithsonian today.
Continue reading

nbcnews:

'Cutest new animal' discovered: It's an olinguito!

(Photo: Mark Gurney)

What do you get when you cross a teddy bear and a house cat? The first new mammalian carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years, revealed by the Smithsonian today.

Continue reading